I'm here, I'm queer, and I'd like to be respected. My name is Andie, I use they/them pronouns, and often cis folks decide that this means I'm their personal educator on all things transgender. While I think education on trans & queer identities is beyond important, it is not the job of every trans person you meet to teach you in depth about their identity and why they deserve to be respected. Sometimes we just want to have a normal conversation that isn't about our gender while we still get respected. Luckily, with the advent of some super clear, super queer books, it's not up to trans individuals to educate everyone in their lives. Books are also wonderful resources for external validation when you're having trouble conjuring it for yourself. This book list is for nonbinary folks looking for enhanced communities, comfortable bodies, and happy souls. This book list is also for cis folks looking to support better communities for trans folks and create comfortable spaces for everyone they encounter. So, on to the books.
'A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns'
Ahh yes, the break room lifesaver, the family member educator, and friendship solidifier. The quick and easy guide. This book takes five to ten minutes to read through and only costs $8. You literally have no excuse not to read this. It's comic book format depicts Archie (a nonbinary person) and their friend Tristan (a cis man) having a constructive conversation on nonbinary gender identities, the grammatical correctness of our pronouns, and how to be more respectful of the nonbinary folks in your life. If you have a body, speak a language, and interact with other humans, this book is a must-read. I personally bought two copies and continuously lend them out to folks who ask me a bunch of questions I don't want to answer. At work, I left a copy in the break room to help people learn to respect me without a direct confrontation. If you, your friend, your family member, coworker, acquaintance, student, barista, employee, or any other person in your life with any amount of significance has come out as nonbinary, consider buying this book instead of barraging them with questions.
'Gender: Your Guide'
Think of Gender: Your Guide as the longer, more inclusive version of the Quick and Easy Guide. You can read this one cover to cover as I did, or you can skip to exactly the chapter that answers your current question. This book is not only helpful as a personal validation experience for the transgender person themselves, but also a powerful educational tool for cis folks as well. This book is kind, respectful, and most importantly, informative. It is broken down into three parts, "What to Know," "What to Say," and "What to Do." "What to Know" consists of information on trans folks, why and how they exist, and how to be more gender-friendly. "What to Say" has primers on they/them pronouns, tips for respectfully asking for, using, and correcting yourself on pronouns, and using non-gendered language in both work and social settings. "What to Do" is all about putting this knowledge into action, you'll learn how to defend your trans friends, debunk anti-trans arguments, and create happier, more gender-friendly communities.
'Gender Queer: A Memoir'
We're officially in the by-queers, for-queers section of this article. The books above are wonderful guides to finding peace in your community, but this is a guide to finding peace in yourself. The night I bought this comic, I read it twice, cover to cover, and cried both times. There's something touching and rare about living through someone's experience that feels truly relatable. E describes eir experience growing up and slowly watching eir gender unfold as e acquired new words to describe emself. This is a wonderfully touching book that would be a fantastic gift for the nonbinary or asexual people in your life, or for yourself if you need some external validation every now and then. This book feels to me like a friend I keep on my shelf.
'Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation'
This book is actually the second book in its series, the original being exclusively by Kate, which is also amazing. I prefer The Next Generation because of the multitude of voices you get to hear. If you identify as any kind of "Gender Outlaw," you'll be able to find an essay or story in this book that relates to you. From trans men in corporate America to female drag queens, there's something for everyone here. This book will make you laugh, cry, and maybe, you'll feel a little more at home in your body than you did when you started.
These are just a few of my personal favorite queer resources; there are so many more amazing reads out there for you to discover, so go forth, find your local bookstore, and raid that LGBTQIA+ section!!